25 Best Steampunk Books Everyone Should Read
It is time to get lost in the fantastic world of steampunk books. For a while now, we have been planning to collect some of the best books on steampunk because most of these books are lesser-known but filled with splendid characters and unique worlds.
Our aim was to find stories that are not only perfectly written, but the world-building is outstanding as well.
What is steampunk? Great question! It is a genre of science fiction that usually uses steam-powered machinery. Just in case you are new to these regions of literature.
So, don’t worry! If you’re new to the world of Steampunk you’ll find here amazing books. We got books for beginners that will take you through these magical worlds and if you’re already a fan of steampunk novels. Hopefully, you’ll also find some special pieces you haven’t come across just yet.
Let’s begin an imaginative journey through the world of steampunk.
Best Steampunk Books Everyone Should Read
*Disclaimer: Some links on AsianaCircus.com are affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase we may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for your support, you’re awesome! =)
25| Perdido Street Station By China Mieville
Dystopian Sci-fi fantasy fiction steampunk novel.
Get ready for hell to be raised. At least the citizens of New Crobuzon should be aware. This magnificent city is constantly under the threat of the ancient beast’s awakening. It is happening and no one is safe.
Before the end of the world, a tireless scientist meets a half-bird, half-man creature known as the Garuda. The scientist is baffled by its request, yet his curiosity drives him to help.
It is a new approach to the steampunk world, could rather categorize it as cyberpunk. Mieville has a fun style, yet a very detailed way of writing. He is not leaving anything out, the world of his visions are very thoroughly crafted.
24| The Steampunk Bible by Jeff VanderMeer and S. J. Chamber
Contemporary fantasy Fiction steampunk Book.
The Steampunk Bible is pretty much what the title suggests; it’s a gorgeous and skillful treasury of all things Steampunk. It’s about the Steampunk movement that traces its roots back to centuries and shows us how it came to influence film, literature, art, music, and even fashion.
You discover how it first appeared in the works of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells and can see how it influenced and is expressed in contemporary blockbuster movies such as Sherlock Holmes.
Jeff VanderMeer takes its readers on an extraordinary ride deep into the world of steampunk with such care and enthusiasm that will evoke your sense of adventure as well.
The Steampunk Bible is a must-read book for everyone who wants to learn more about this fascinating subculture.
23| The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist
Historical Fantasy Adventure fiction Thriller Steampunk novel.
This beautiful New York Times Bestseller has a gorgeous cover and fascinating adventures on the pages.
The story starts with a short letter of rejection from Miss Temple’s fiancé. But instead of hiding in her room broken-hearted, Miss Tempe starts a harrowing and shocking quest for answers, plunging her into a mystery.
During her adventures, she is faced with dark mysteries, meets killer spies, and even travels to a remote estate where unimaginable danger abounds.
It’s one of the best electrifying dark mystery steampunk books you’ll ever read.
22| Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle #1) by Diana Wynne Jones
Young Adult Fantasy Fiction Steampunk book series.
This adorably adventurous book was turned into a popular anime movie -which you probably saw-, still, you should pick up this book too because there are big story differences between the two. So great news! Even if you have already seen the movie, there are new things to explore.
The world is built so interestingly and detailed, sometimes it feels like that is an existing corner of the Earth. We love the story, which is quite a roller coaster throughout.
There is a lot of action and easy to connect with the characters emotionally. It is definitely one of the best steampunk books for tweens too.
21| The Arctic Marauder by Jacques Tardi
Steampunk Comic Books.
This steampunk comic book is quite a piece of work. Tardi, one of the most known French comic artists, has created an adventure story no one should miss.
It is not just an engaging story of a mysteriously lost vessel in the arctic, but a hilarious satiric read. It is very easy to get lost in the fantastic art while living through a lifetime worth adventures.
There is a little bit of everything; mystery, action, monsters, amazing retro-futuristic machines, and laughter.
It is definitely one of the best steampunk comics, especially of its time. It was first published in 1979.
20| The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1) by Philip Pullman
Epic fantasy trilogy with Steampunk elements.
His Dark Materials is among the best steampunk books for young adults. Thanks to the series by HBO, Pullman’s work has gained even more recognition.
It is about the exciting story of Lyra, who is fearlessly heading the cold north to save her friend. The first book quickly immerses its readers in the somewhat dark world ruled by the oppressing magisterium.
Every human has a companion called a daemon, whose lives are closely linked to their partners’. If one dies, the other goes as well.
There are curious creatures, machines and the story itself is fascinating perfect for younger and older readers as well.
19| Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 1 (Fullmetal Alchemist #1) by Hiromu Arakawa
Manga with steampunk elements.
Fullmetal Alchemist needs no introduction to anime lovers. In case this is the first time you hear about Elric and Edward’s adventures, you are at luck.
The Manga created by Hiromu Arakawa invites you for an escapade of a lifetime. In a world, where some alchemists use their powers to spread decay in the world, the government needs dedicated soldiers like Elric, who is one of the most powerful alchemists.
The style of the comics is just beautiful it’s a joy to just look at it. We think you are going to get hooked right after the first pages of Vol. 1. Then there are another 26 volumes to follow.
18| The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1) by Brandon Sanderson
Fantasy Fiction Steampunk Book.
Despite Joel’s adventure being categorized as a young adult book, we are certain anyone would enjoy it. It is a well-crafted story of Joel, who was not born to wield the powers of a Rithmatist. Rithmatists are able to bring two-dimensional creatures called chalklings to life.
As Joel watches his fellow students master the art, he determines to learn Rithmatism.
This steampunk fantasy book is definitely a new idea, that is very well written and entertains people of all ages.
17| Agatha H and the Airship City (Girl Genius Novels #1) by Phil Foglio, Kaja Foglio
Science Fiction & Steampunk
Phil and Kaja Foglio fly us to a somewhat dark but utterly exciting world. The post-industrial revolution times, where developments lead to wars, Europe is ruled by the Sparks.
Sparks are a bloodline of a mad scientist holding the population in fear and depression. Agatha Clay is a rather inept-looking student, who just doesn’t seem to have what it takes to stand out of the crowd.
Only until she is imprisoned on the enormous air castle of the feared Baron Klaus Wulfenbach.
This attention-catching fantasy is one of the best steampunk books with a super smart and kick-ass female protagonist.
16| Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Romance-adventure-fantasy-fiction novel with steampunk elements.
Neil Gaiman is one of the best fiction writers one can think of. His stories are always deep and thoroughly crafted. He doesn’t disappoint this time either.
Stardust is the interesting story of Tristran Thorn, a small-town boy, who shows unmatchable bravery to win the heart of Victoria Forester.
The little town called Wall (as the name indicates) is surrounded by an ancient wall. Tristan goes on an incredible adventure for love.
This is a beautiful love story with magic and plenty of action.
15| Lady of Devices (Magnificent Devices #1) by Shelley Adina
Historical Sci-fi Fantasy Fiction Steampunk novel.
The first book of the four is a great set up for further reading. At the end of the 19th century, where steam power makes everything turn.
During Queen Victoria’s reign, Claire Trevelyan is expected to behave as a proper lady as per elite etiquette. But she is not your typical blue-blooded 17-year old. She doesn’t want to smile and shine in the ballroom to catch a rich husband.
No, she belongs in the chemistry lab, where she can blow things up. Due to his father’s gambling, she soon loses her fortune and status to be out in the dark streets. Her talents soon raise her to be a leader though.
It is another amazing steampunk book series for young adults as well as adults in need of a little adventure.
14| Airman by Eoin Colfer
Speculative fiction – fantasy adventure steampunk novel.
Conor, living an ideal, privileged life alongside the king’s daughter and his family on Saltee Island. Until one day, he discovers a plotting against the royal family.
As he tries to get in the way of the traitors, he is accused of being part of the conspiracy.
He is sent to the prison island, Little Saltee, where he is forced to mine diamond in terrible conditions. He has an escape plan, which can only be pulled off by flying. His planning comes to reality after years.
Let’s see whether Conor can finally escape and clear his name.
13| The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Historical Fiction – Graphic Novel with steampunk elements.
The enchanting story of Hugo Cabret is just medicine to the heart. Hugo, the twelve-year-old self-appointed clock keeper is living in the busy train station. The orphan is a curious mind surviving by nicking this and that from the shops at the station.
His adventures are just incredibly interesting and adorable. The overall style is very much like most books on steampunk, yet it is not a typical one of the genre.
Hugo’s findings and the people he comes across will definitely warm your heart. We surely couldn’t have enough of this historical fiction book. It was also brought to life by Martin Scorsese.
12| The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles #1) by Kady Cross
Science fiction Steampunk Novel.
Kady Cross has brought a real badass steampunk girl to us. Finley Jane is a loner with a dark side that empowers her to act in menacing situations like no one else would be capable of her age.
One day, a young lord tries to harass her and soon has to realize, Finley is not one to play with.
She soon meets a gang of strays lead by Griffin King. He wants Finley to join, despite the gang is not open to the suggestion.
There are living and unique steampunk characters that make this book special.
We think it is one of the best steampunk book series you can begin a journey in this quaint world.
11| The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1 (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen #1) by Alan Moore
Steampunk Comic Book Series.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is quite a fresh breath of air. The book utilizes previously adored and feared literary characters such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Captain Nemo and many more.
In the wake of the 20th century, there is a need for brave and willing people to bring light into the dark chaos.
One could argue, there could have been more females in the league, but then the name wouldn’t be a good fit.
The illustrations are just beautiful and the story itself is rather fun.
10| Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century #1) by Cherie Priest
Sci-fi, alternate history, horror steampunk book series.
We have already included Cherie Priest’s superb book in our best books about zombies list. Yes, it is a steampunk book with zombies. Hurray, finally a completely new angle. The Boneshaker is definitely a pioneer in its genre.
Boneshaker is a giant drilling machine that in search of the rumored deeply frozen gold releases some toxic gases that turn people into zombies.
The city is later enclosed by giant walls and not many are willing to ever go beyond them.
One day Ezekiel, one of the lost scientist’s son takes on a quest that leads him inside the walls. It is a journey of high risk and the only one to save Ezekiel, is his mother, Briar.
9| Leviathan (Leviathan #1) by Scott Westerfeld
Steampunk alternate history, sci-fi war story/ weird fiction.
We are pretty spoiled by authors of steampunk books. Fortunately, most of these superb stories are part of a series, so we get to turn more pages.
And Leviathan is quite a page-turner indeed. The once heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne Prince Aleksander is on the run from his own men. He comes across Deryn, who pretends to be a boy in the British Army.
She has to be aware and careful constantly to avoid beingdiscovered.
Our two protagonists embark on an adventure no one would wish for themselves just on the verge of the first world war.
It is one of the best steampunk books with lots of travel and great war scenes.
8| The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #1) by Theodora Goss
Mystery historical fantasy fiction steampunk novels.
The strange story of Mary Jekyll is a fun mixture of some of the greatest literature by Arthur Conan Doyle and fellow authors. It is surely one of the best books on steampunk with entertaining humor.
The story takes place following Dr. Jekyll’s death, leaving his daughter, Mary penniless.
She decides to discover her father’s confusing, but utterly interesting past.
Our heroine encounters already know figures such as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson who help her uncover the truth.
7| The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia
Sci-fi, Urban fantasy Steampunk Novel.
The Alchemy of stone was written by the talented Russian author Sedia and is a story about Mattie, an intelligent automaton skilled in the use of alchemy. We follow her journey as she finds herself in the middle of a conflict between gargoyles, the Mechanics, and the Alchemists.
Mattie discovers powerful and dangerous secrets that can change the power balance in her city, Ayona. However, the mechanic who created Mattie and still has a literal key to her heart has other plans.
The Alchemy of stone has interesting world-building and great characters. It’s one of the best steampunk books you can pick up if you love darker stories with automatons and fictional worlds.
6| Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare
Romance YA Fantasy Adventure fiction novel series.
Clockwork Angel is the first book of The Infernal Devices. It is an adventurous prequel to the best seller Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare.
Follow the mighty adventures of Tessa Gray in London’s dark and mysterious underbelly. Shadowhunters are trying to restore the balance in these desperate times. Tessa with only a few allies, the shadow hunters take on the Pandemonium Club.
This fierce club is a group of evil creatures including warlocks, vampires, and demons. Will she succeed and bring more promising prospects to the rotting streets of London?
5| Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening (Monstress #1) by Marjorie M. Liu & Sana Takeda as Illustrator
Steampunk epic fantasy comic series.
Marjorie M. Liu’s Monstress series will take you on a journey you will never forget. The incredible story of a teenage girl who has suffered through the recent wars in Asia holds way more than you would expect.
She is carrying the emotional scars she may never get rid of. Following the tragic events, she finds out, she is mysteriously connected to a monster with unimaginable powers.
Monstress is probably not one of the typical steampunk books or graphic novels to be more precise.
Still, it is a distant relative and a must-read. The art is just stunning and the story will have you spend a few hours on the edge of your seat.
4| Bloodless Assassin (The Viper and the Urchin #1) by Celine Jeanjean
Steampunk fiction novel.
Bloodless Assassin is a quite entertaining piece of work. It is the story of the challenging companionship of the hemophobic assassin, Longinus, and a street smart girl, Rory. It is understandable where the comedy is going to derive from.
Rory is a determined Urchin girl, who wants to become the hero of the city and write history.
Longinus, with all his difficulties, is certain he is the one to bring peace to the city.
It is an utterly fun, laugh out loud kind of book. We love Jeanjean’s style and story crafting.
The Bloodless Assassin is one of the best steampunk comedy books you’ll ever read.
3| Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) – Gail Carriger
Historical Horror fiction Steampunk novel series.
Gail Carriger’s dark humor is definitely something to make your day. She is dark and unexpectedly original.
The thrilling adventures of Alexia Tarabotti will allow you to get to know a real badass woman. She is not afraid to whack some creatures of the underworld to get her way.
As the title points out, she has no soul. That would not be the end of the world, however, the misfit is attacked by vampires to her disappointment.
It is a fun sort-of-detective story, with loads of humor, vampires, werewolves, action and etiquette breaking.
2| The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Sci-fi, time travel fiction with steampunk elements.
This 1895 classic is often referred to as one of the cornerstones of science fiction and time travel. H.G. Wells’ work has been adopted by countless movie makers and theaters as well.
The pioneer story of a Victorian scientist inventing a machine that takes him in the selected year shook the world. It is incredible how far he was ahead of his time.
The unnamed scientist embarks on a journey we all wish to take once. He gets to go back in the past and goes far in the future as well. The machinery could be regarded as one of the most outstanding steampunk machines. It is a superb book everyone should read.
1| Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Captain Nemo #1) by Jules Verne
Sci-fi romance adventure fiction steampunk novel.
Jules Verne needs no introduction to the steampunk book lovers. He was certainly a visionary. All his otherworldly machines, the detailed concepts, and engaging stories changed the world in the middle of the 19th century.
Captain Nemo’s adventures have long been admired and we surely think for long they are going to be.
Join the captivating quest to find a giant monster lead by French oceanographer Pierre Aronnax and his assistant Conseil. This incredible expedition is full of surprises. They soon have to realize, it is not a monster, but a futuristic submarine, the Nautilus commanded by none else than Captain Nemo.
They then embark on a mind-bending exploration of the deep waters.
It is just full of action, with exhilarating machines and places. It is truly an imaginative story that deservedly takes its spot on the top of every steampunk books list.
Jules Verne’s curious and adventurous story is one of the most beloved classic steampunk novels of all time.
Thank you for reading!